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Warning children will lose teeth for life as public dentists redeployed to Covid vaccine duties


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The redeployment of public sector dentists to Covid vaccination duties will have a lifelong negative impact on children and vulnerable adults, dentists have warned.

Dentists also said they had “lost faith” in the Irish Government as they say the gap has widened between private and public patients.

Speaking today, the outgoing president of the Irish Dental Association (IDA) Dr Anne O’Neill said they have lost faith in the Department of Health to “bring about real and substantive change for the good of patients”.

Dr O’Neill made her comments in an IDA meeting today in response to a pre-recorded address from Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

Dr O’Neill said the sector has been neglected for years, and that the DTSS medical card scheme needs to be redeveloped as its “widening the gap” between those who can afford private dental care and those who cannot.

The DTSS scheme, which allows medical card holders to access dental care, is “unfit for purpose”, according to the IDA.

The organisation says that fewer than 800 of the country’s 2,500 general practice dentists were actively treating medical card patients last month as many abandoned the DTSS scheme following funding cuts.

It wants an entirely new approach to treating those who can’t afford dental care.

"We must ensure that it is the patient that is prioritised,” Dr O’Neill said.

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